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What's On the Inside?

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What’s on the Inside?
Ezekiel 36:25-27

And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them. (ASV)

In the Movie Godfather III Mafia chief Michael Corleone meets with Cardinal Lamberto, reporting to the cardinal that executives from the Vatican bank and even an archbishop have been involved in a massive case of fraud. After hearing the news Cardinal Lamberto moves to a water fountain withdraws a stone and says: “Look at this stone. It has been in the water for a very long time, but the water has not penetrated it.” He then breaks the stone in two, shows the inside to Don Michael and continues, “Look. Perfectly dry. The same thing has happened to men in Europe. For centuries they have been surrounded by Christianity but Christ has not penetrated. Christ does not breathe within them.” (Jim Davis’ Verse A Week Club) The movie scene actually points out a significant spiritual truth – It is not enough to be exposed to Christianity. Man is in desperate need of a heart transplant.

I. Without Christ actively working within, man’s heart is hard.
          A. Man may look good on the outside but it is not what is on the outside that       counts. It’s what’s inside.
          B. Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately                        wicked; who can know it?”
          C. I Samuel 16:7 “For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at                   the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
          D. Man’s heart is hardened by sin.
              Hebrews 13:3 “Exhort one another daily, while it is called                                           “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of                           sin.”
          E. Man’s heart is hardened by stubbornness.
              Psalm 95:8 “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day                    of trial in the wilderness,”
          F. Man’s heart is hardened by self-sufficiency.
               Daniel 5:20 “But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was                                hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took                        his glory from him.”
          G. Man’s heart is hardened by unbelief
              Mark 16:14 “Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they                were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and              hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him               after He had risen.”
          H. Man’s heart is hardened by neglect.
               Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as                      the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more,                         as ye see the day approaching.”
          I. Man needs a new heart to replace the heart of stone. What people need is a        new heart, a new character and personality: new thoughts, feelings, way                            of life, new ways of doing things. Jesus summarized man’s heart, "Out of                       the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft,                  false testimony, slander" (Matthew 15:19).

II. When Christ is allowed to work within, man’s heart is transformed.
          A. Ezekiel 36:26 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I                        put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and                       I will give you an heart of flesh.”
          B. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new                              creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”
          C. Christ gives us a new heart that is not hard that can actually respond to                      Him.

III. When man’s heart is transformed, man is empowered to live for God.
          A. Ezekiel 36:27 “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk       in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
          B. In Ezekiel 11:19-20 God says: And I will give them a new heart and put a         new spirit within them. I will take out the stony heart. I will take the stony         heart out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh that they may walk                        in my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them. And they shall be                        my people and I will be their God.
          C. Psalm 139:23 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know        my thoughts.”
          D. Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast                       spirit within me.”

Conclusion: What’s on the inside? External Religion says "be clean physically and morally". Internal Redemption says, "Be born again and made into a new creature!" External Religion says "A clean exterior makes a clean interior." Internal Redemption says "when the inside gets clean, it will clean up the outside." External Religion says "You must develop some rules to govern your behavior." Internal Redemption says "I love God, therefore I will live right!" External Religion says "Be faithful to your church, its practices and its teaching and you will be clean." Internal Redemption says "Be cleansed by Jesus and you will be faithful to your church, its practices and its teachings." External Religion is a man made system of ritual, ceremony, law and work. Internal Redemption is a work of God in the heart that produces a new creature! - copied

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